Film producers need several kinds of insurance in order to produce their film. Some forms of insurance are required by unions, some are required by equipment and location owners, and some are required by just good sense. Here is a quick over view of different kinds of insurance you may need to produce your film, and a suggestion on where to find it cheap.
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There are several people you need to identify before you shoot a film in order to get it funded quickly.
Letters of intent from a Production Insurance company and a Completion Bond company is required to receive most film funding. Both Production Insurance Companies and Completion Bond Companies review the script, the budget, the key crew, the shooting schedule and talk to the line producer before giving a letter of intent. So if they say a film is “good to go” then it has been vetted by pros and is likely to be (from a production standpoint) safe to produce. This increases a funder’s sense of comfort dramatically.
In order to take money for a film, the money has to go into some bank account that is associated with some company. You need to form an LLC or a Corporation to separate your assets from the film’s assets. Talk to your lawyer if you don’t understand how or why to set up these business entities.
You can hire a storyboard artist or work with your production designer to create story boards for a few of the most important scenes in your film. You can use that work as cover art for your business plan and use it within the business plan to add visual interest. Most people can’t visualize the script the way filmmakers and film professionals can. So give investors some artwork to look at. This always pays off.
Here is a sample business plan table of contents for a feature film. Note that if you are funding a short film you probably won’t have to provide all these documents to your potential funder.
Having created a production schedule, a distribution plan, and revenue projections, you should now be in a position to create a worksheet that outlines, on a week by week basis, when funding will be used and when revenues will be received.
If you go online and search for terms like “film finance”, “entertainment capital”, “entertainment holdings” you’ll find hundreds of listings for those who invest in film. You can approach them by phone, fax or email. Phone works best if you are good at pitching your project on the phone. Note that these folks are easy to approach. They do this for a living. They like to get calls about new business. If they are rude, say “Thanks” and move along.
Almost every first time filmmaker is startled by just how hard it is to get people to help him make his project. Whether it’s the 1-day short film short they can’t get chairs for or the eight million dollar feature they can’t raise a dime for . . . they are dismayed that people are so unhelpful.